Racing a family affair for Gamsbys

They can thank Hiroshi Yamauchi and Bill Gates for their consistent placings at the Emo Speedway.
Those two big wigs essentially are the inventors of obesity, as Yamauchi is the maker of Nintendo while Gates came up with the XBox, but video games only have inflated the minds of Kendal and Mat Gamsby, who attribute their strong finishes at the Emo Speedway each Saturday night to video games.
“The way I learned to drive is through video games,” said Mat, 19, in his first year of racing at the Speedway.
Older brother, Kendal, 22, in his third year behind a wheel at the Speedway, agreed video games “probably are” their secret weapon.
“You can see the line and everything, and it does help you drive better,” he noted.
But just because you can do it at home doesn’t necessarily mean you can relay that onto the track—you need natural ability and the two brothers have it in boat loads.
Being a rookie hasn’t stopped Mat Gamsby, a former Muskie standout in hockey and volleyball, from garnering 373 points so far this season to sit in second place in the Street Stock field—just 59 behind leader Gary Grimes.
“Mat is good at everything he does,” said Garrett, the oldest of the Gamsby brothers and one of the main reasons why his younger siblings are able to drive each week.
“He’s put in a lot of time and money into this and has learned a lot,” added Garrett. “He didn’t know much coming in, but he knows a little bit of everything, and can tell us what the car is doing and what he thinks can make it better.”
Mat remembers going to the Emo Speedway at a young age with his dad, Gary, and brothers, and said the only thing that prevented him from entering the sport earlier was the money.
With high school behind him, he now works as a logger in Atikokan, which is “tough work, but it pays good.” Without racing, Mat would behave like Jack Nicholson from “The Shining” and “would be going crazy outside on the skidder all day.”
How does one balance the obvious risk involved in the sport with the reward?
“You’ve got to keep your head cool, and all I’m worried about is driving around the track as fast as I can go and hopefully nobody catches me,” Gamsby replied.
“I race because I love doing it, but I like putting on a good show for the fans because without the fans, we wouldn’t have the track, and some guys don’t get that,” he added.
Guys like his brother, Kendal, do get that.
And maybe that understanding is because they have an appreciation for the sport.
Kendal also works as a logger in Atikokan and he, too, sees racing as an outlet to the vigours faced in daily life.
“It’s always about racing,” remarked Gamsby, who is fourth in the Midwest Modifieds points standings but only 23 behind leader John Hettinga. “We talk about what we’re going to do and what we did last week, and what helps and what doesn’t help.”
But someone who certainly does help them is Garrett.
Because of their work, Kendal and Mat have no time to work on the car during the week, so Garrett takes charge until Saturday.
And come Saturday, they’ll work on the car from the wee hours of the morning right up to race time. And while things usually go smoothly, you have to remember they are brothers.
“It’s a good way to spend time together, but sometimes it can be a real pain in the [butt],” said Mat, who might be jumping up to the Midwest class next season if he can scrounge up enough money.
“We [cousin, Matt DePiero, also lends a helping hand] get stuff done, but we butt heads a lot,” he admitted. “We’re related and we like to get angry at each other and throw things.”
So are wrenches being thrown in the garage while setting up the car?
“Oh yeah, but all in all, we pull things together,” laughed Kendal.
That’s obvious from their results, but there’s just one thing that Kendal hasn’t been able to do quite yet—a checkered flag.
“I’m consistent, but I haven’t won any features and that’s what I want to do—I want that checkered flag,” stressed Kendal, who, along with Mat, has been able to race with sponsors like Barwick Service, C&C Cunningham, Baker Graphics, JD Junction, and Visser Auto.
He’s come close and most certainly will get it one of these days. And when he does, the Gamsby family will be the first to give him a congratulatory hug.
“It’s fun watching him when I do get a chance to watch him,” said Mat, noting he’s usually working on his own car while Kendal is racing.
“But I know he does good. He’s my brother and I just want him to do well,” he added.